Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sew and Sox now on Etsy!

I finally opened my store on Etsy. I only have a few magazines up there now but I will be adding more stuff over the next couple of days including more magazines, fabric and vintage items.

And if you are very interested in seeing/buying the things that no longer fit in my house, you can also find my items for sale on these sites:


Saturday, July 18, 2009


Here is my big list of craft tutorials that I have made or want to make but never will due to the short, short life we live. Some are repeats from older posts but I wanted to consolidate this list into one post that I can update regularly.

Sites with many tutorials:
The Purl Bee (Lots of really excellent tutes. Check out the right column of the blog to find them.)
Wee Wonderfuls (Mostly softies)
Craft Tutorials has a ton of tutorials
Moda Bake Shop has tutorials for precut fabric packs ("honey buns", "jelly rolls", etc.)

Camera Strap Cover at Made by Petchy
Checkbook Cover at Liesl Made
Honeycomb Smocking at Tumbling Blocks
Ironing Board Cover at Instructables
Fabric Bunting at WhipUp
Fabric bucket at pippijoe
Box pouch at Indie House

Baby & Kid stuff:
Baby dress/tunic at Made by Petchy
Chenille Bib at happythings
Chenille-backed Quilt at happythings
Baby Cubes from London Mummy
Cloth Shoes at Stardust Shoes
Superhero Cape at Puking Pastilles
Paper Dolls at Sugar City Journal
Boarder Fabric Sundress at Lil Blue Boo

Reversible Patchwork Bag at Pink Penquin
Tote Bag at JCaroline Creative
Drawstring Bag at happythings
Lindie Bag at Craft Apple
Cozy Camera Case at Amy a La Mode
Bagsket at Foofanagle
Kidlet (small bag to hang on a door handle) at JC Handmade
(Check out this older post for more bag tutorials.)

Elf Clogs at allsorts
Peace Dove ornament at Bella Dia
Wine gift bags at Under A Blue Moon
Little trees at Little Birds Handmade

To wear:
Spring Ruffle Top at Sew, Mama, Sew
Shirt to Blouse at Jezze
Hat at Curiously Crafty
The Eddie Cap (for kids) at Mushroom Villagers
Summer Slippers are Lady Harvatine

Patchwork and Quilting:
Gretchen Block at Seven Stitches
Value Quilt at Willy-Nilly
Polka Dot Quilt at and other silly things
Rick Rack Patchwork Blocks at Oh, Fransson!
Rec Room Patchwork Pillows at Oh, Fransson!
Dear Jane blocks at That Quilt

Embroidered Alphabet Mini Quilt at O.F. Patterns and Tutorials

Friday, July 17, 2009

Slow blogging

(Image is completely unrelated to the below post. But every blog entry needs a picture, right? Why not a cute kitty? That's Izzy.)

So we have "slow cooking" and "slow living" about "slow blogging"? (Did I just invent an internet term? That would be so cool.) I have some posts brewing...or simmering, if you will...but nothing is done yet. I have been doing some crafty things and even planning more crafty things. I've been concentrating on the baby, finding a job, and relaxing with my crafty things rather than blogging about them.

"Slow" is not a word that would describe me well. Well, that's not totally true. I do sit still regularly. But even when I am sitting still I am thinking of the list of things I would like to get done. Right now, as I write this post, I am watching a Red Sox game, sewing hexagons, and checking Twitter/flickr/blogs. I blame MTV. My formative years were during the 80s when everything was 3 minutes long and choices between TV channels and ice cream flavors multiplied by the hundreds. If life isn't overwhelming then I'm just not living.

Recently I have become more mindful of the amount of stuff in my life...the to-dos, things, and wants. I'm trying to pair everything down to something more manageable...something that would create a happy rather then frenetic life. I have my priorities (my family, our happiness, our health and security) and now I'm trying to reconcile the stuff with those priorities.

I've started by clearing out some of the clutter in the house. Stuff that doesn't jive with my priorities is getting the boot. I have listed some things on eBay, I have a pile of items to give away (to friends or Goodwill) and I plan on having a blog giveaway one of these days.

This is all a process (we have a lot of stuff). But I am trying to keep "slow" top of mind.

Have you slowed down lately? Was it because of the season, the economy, life change or something else entirely?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Inspiration: Outdoor Music Festivals via The Fabric Shopper

The Fabric Shopper blog has a very neat post about fashioning your own cool clothes to wear to summer festivals. They give two examples for a rock & roll festival and a jazz festival. But I thought there was one glaring omission...didn't the hippies invent summer music festivals? So here is my suggestion...

I couldn't find a good inspiration photo but I'm thinking a long tiered skirt and a tie-dyed cami.

Do it yourself skirt with this free pattern from j caroline creative:

My selection of fabric for the tiers (picking fabric for this skirt is great fun!):

1. Garden Bright from the London Calling collection by Robert Kaufman
2. Jackie Blue from the Pretty Please collection by Jennifer Paganelli for Free Spirit
3. Libby Royal from the Dance with Me fabric collection by Jennifer Paganelli for Free Spirit
4. Unicorns Purple from the Far, Far Away fabric collection by Heather Ross for Kokka

Then, sew up a white cotton cami using Simplicity pattern 3882 and tie die using these instructions from Rit Dye. (I suggest a single complimentary color to the skirt or you may end up looking like a crazy person!)

And maybe a headscarf to complete your look?

I am soooo not the hippy but this post was fun to play in...thanks Fabric Shopper for the inspiration. AND for the giveaway win! I won an American Pastimes fabric bundle! I can't wait to get the package in the mail to see what fabrics were selected from the collection. As you may know, I'm a big Red Sox fan so I'm particularly happy to win some of this baseball inspired fabric.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Library finds...very surprised to see that the Alabama Stitch Book's patterns at the back are still intact. And how cool is it that Julie Jackson of Subversive Cross Stitch did the embroidery design on Heather Armstrong's memoir??


Gillian of I Heart Handmade is having a very cute giveaway (ends July 3)! She is in Dublin but will ship internationally. She has a very cute blog...I miss being in Ireland.


I attempted some tissue paper tie dye with not much success. I think my tissue paper may have been too good. I'll try it again with some dollar store tissue and see if it works. I also think you need to use dark/saturated colors to get any dye out of the tissue.


Remember friendship bracelets? (Link found via House on Hill Road)


I picked out some fabrics and started tracing the pattern for Peanut the Wee Elephant today from the Last Minute Quilted & Patchwork Gifts book. (I am so far behind in my projects! That book has been out for almost two years now.) But that is one project on my To Do list so I'm happy to have it started.


Currently reading these blogs: Liesl Made, Make Something, Yummy Goods

Sunday, June 21, 2009


That is what the weather has been like here for what feels like weeks. Maybe it has been that long. It's been raining or about to rain constantly. The house smells funny from all the humidity. It's been too wet to leave the house much (I really don't like going out in the rain). You would think that I would have gotten more sewing done but, see, I started reading those Twilight books and...well...that along with taking care of the baby meant no extra time for other things.

I have completed two projects and both of them are on my To Do list! I'm very excited to cross stuff off already.

The photos are poor from the lack of sun to help my tired camera along. And I also embarrassingly didn't realize that I had left the manual focus turned on. So I've been taking pictures thinking that the camera was focusing on it's own and then swearing at my camera when I saw the blurry images full-size on my computer screen. My camera thinks I'm crazy.

I made the baby boy some modified "Kimono Style PJ Pants" from Amy Butler's Little Stitches book. Rather than adding the extra wide trim at the bottom, I just used some homemade bias tape. I was looking to make shorts but these are more short pants. Next go-around I will make them a bit shorter but in a bigger size. He's is going to grow out of these very quickly.

And the second project is a play mat, also for the baby. This is the only photo that was in focus (!) so I will try to take them again once the sun makes another appearance.

I used this tutorial on the "katie did journal" blog. Have you seen this blog? Katie makes some beautiful clothes for her two little girls...gorgeous stuff. She has a little boy now as well so I will be looking out for ideas on sewing for boys. (Why is it so much harder? Are dresses really all that much more exciting then pants?)

The play mat is just two solids -- blue and dark tan -- plus batting quilted together in a free form zig-zag pattern. I added some patchwork to the binding just cuz. The mat is about 30x35 inches. And I call it a mat because that is what it's job will be but it could also make a very nice baby blanket. Thanks Katie for the nifty idea!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Newsboy Cap

Help! Where can I find a pattern for a newsboy cap? Preferably free? I know, tall order.
It has to be just like this one with the "slouched forward" top. And I'd like to find pattern sizes for both babies/child and adults.

Thanks for any help!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sewing Machine Meme

Sew, Mama, Sew is sponsoring Sewing Machine Month. There are prizes to be won!

And they've posted a meme so everyone can join in the fun...

What brand and model do you have?
Singer Stylist, Zig-Zag Model 476 (You know it's a fancy machine when the feature they call out is the zig-zag stitch.)

How long have you had it?
I have had it for about 15 years. But it was my mom's before that. The machine is over 40 years old.

How much does that machine cost (approximately)?
I really have no idea. I did a search on ebay and got one result where it was being sold for $50.

What types of things do you sew (i.e. quilting, clothing, handbags, home dec projects, etc.)?
All of the above! Seriously, I sew patchwork and I quilt on it, make clothes and curtains, even some softies.

How much do you sew? How much wear and tear does the machine get?
It really depends but not more then 6-10 hours a week, I would say. There are weeks I sew a lot and weeks I don't sew at all.

Do you like/love/hate your machine? Are you ambivalent? Passionate? Does she have a name?
Oh, I should name her! I like my machine because it is very solid and consistent. I wish I could do more with it though. It's a very basic model.

What features does your machine have that work well for you?
Zig-zag stitch! It sews. That's about it.

Is there anything that drives you nuts about your machine?
No, the stuff that drives me nuts is totally user error.

Do you have a great story to share about your machine (i.e., Found it under the Christmas tree? Dropped it on the kitchen floor? Sewed your fingernail to your zipper?, Got it from your Great Grandma?, etc.!)? We want to hear it!
I didn't realize how often you were supposed to change the needle. So for the first 5+ years of owning the machine I never changed the needle never mind getting it tuned up. It ran fine. Although all I was really sewing back then were curtains for my apartment.

Would you recommend the machine to others? Why?
I would recommend you get a newer machine with more features. If you get one free, then by all means use it though.

What factors do you think are important to consider when looking for a new machine?
I was looking at new machines about a year ago but all the ones in my price range weren't much better then the one I have. They may have had more stitches and other features but they were mostly plastic. I would love to get something that was as solid but also had some bells and whistles.

Do you have a dream machine?
One that would sew, quilt, embroider, and vacuum.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Little toes

The first project since the baby was born was to make him some cute little booties. I used the pattern from Amy Butler's Little Stitches book. I liked that they completely covered the foot and held together with velcro so they wouldn't slip off. But they ended up being a little too tight around the ankle and the velcro peeks out under the flap. So I'm thinking of making another pair where I alter the pattern to accomidate a fatter baby leg and use a smaller bit of velcro. I really hate to redo a project.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

To do

With a baby I now know that you can't expect to get anything done during the day unless you are completely organized. I get 15-45 minutes at a time to do anything and I don't want to spend that time thinking about what I should be doing. (Another tip: multitasking! I'm actually typing this one-handed while feeding him.)

This list will be updated with new projects and, hopefully, completed projects will be marked off. I'm going to create a button so I can easily update it once it gets buried in posts.

Here it is in no particular order:

  • make more Built by Wendy tops - I love these! They're a step up from a t-shirt but just as comfortable. I'd also like to try some other BBW patterns that I have.
  • make a checkbook cover, small purse and wallet
  • finish pink and green nine-patch quilt (possibly adding sashing)
  • finish Dear Jane quilt (decide when to stop making blocks and start piecing them together. Or do I finish the entire thing?)
  • hexagon quilt
  • remake baby shoes...make them fit this time.

Friday, June 5, 2009


I have been using Twitter much more lately. My thoughts are a bit more scattered these days and Twitter's character-limiting posts are perfect for low-stress updates. I always feel like blog posts should have substance...not long but weighty. I've also been using it to note all of the blog giveaways I run across.

So if you're up for more frequent ramblings from me, follow me on Twitter. (Updates are also posted in the upper left hand corner of this blog.)

Monday, June 1, 2009

And we have a winner!

Congratulations to pinecone 304. I sent you an email. Please reply with your name and address so I can send you the banner.

Thank you everyone who entered or just visited my blog! I had a great time visiting so many new blogs from the giveaway list over at Sew, Mama, Sew. Many of them I know I'll keep going back to.

Didn't win anything over the giveaway weekend? Well, The Fabric Shopper is having an awesome giveaway right now for THIRTY fat quarters of Denyse Schmidt fabric! Go! Now!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A note about the giveaway....

I need to be able to contact you through email if you win. Some people who have already commented are missing email addresses. The issue is actually with blogger...if you have a blogger or google account you can comment using that "identity" but it does not pass your email on to me along with your comment. I get a link to your blogger profile. But, if you don't have a blog, the profile is empty and I have no way of contacting you.

If you are unsure if your email is being passed on automatically, please include it in your comment. To prevent getting spammed in the future from having your email floating out in the internet, be sure to format it this way: sewandsox [at] gmail [dot] com

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happy Giveaway Day

Here it is...this is what I have to offer...

I can't decide if this more "Viva la France" or "Fourth of July".

I've had that red, white and blue floral fabric for a while. I love it but I just couldn't think of what to make with it. I know bunting is so last year but I really like the simplicity of it and how it shows off the fabrics. And I'm really into red, white and blue lately.

I think the flags would work well as some July 4th decoration or as kid's room or kitchen wall decor. The bunting is about 41 inches long with 10 inches of trim at each end for tying.

Just a few notes about the giveaway:

  • Leave a comment by end of day (midnight eastern daylight savings time) Sunday, May 31.
  • I will choose a random person from all comments to this post.
  • I'll announce the winner on Monday, June 1.
  • I'm sorry but I can not ship internationally.
Thank you all so much for visiting my blog. Have a happy giveaway day!

Visit Sew, Mama, Sew for a complete list of participating blogs.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My birthday is coming up (hint, hint)

I'm a little disappointed this year. I usually get a parade but this year my birthday falls closer to the end of the week. No matter, I am not one to make a big deal out of my birthday. But since I very rarely buy them for myself, this is one of the two days a year where I end up getting a lot of craft books (the other day being Christmas). This is what is on my wish list:

I read that there are a lot of errors and such in this book but I still want it. I've seen the projects being created around crafty-blog-land and they look so simple and beautiful.

[ETA: Check out the video of author Heather Ross on Martha making the super simple smocked summer dress.]

Who doesn't love Martha? OK, a lot of people. But she has impeccable taste so you know a craft encyclopedia from her is going to be first class.

Judge a book by it's cover? Yes, I do. I also liked this part of the book's description, "...encourage quilters to use bold patterns and unusual color combinations, and to trust their instincts rather than follow rigid rules." I need a bit of that.

I have been a fan of the blog I Heart Linen for a couple of years. And now Rashida has a book, I Love Patchwork. Her projects are so beautiful and creative. Unfortunately I'm going to have to wait for this one. It isn't being released until November.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day

May 27th is going to be a busy day! I will be scouring the list of craft blogs featured in the Sew, Mama, Sew Giveaway Day post. AND I'll be participating so be sure to come back and visit May 27-31 to see what I've made for you (well, one of you).

Friday, May 22, 2009

I'm back!

I've had a hankering for some crafting and blogging lately but I haven't wanted to put anything in writing just in case the hanker was short lived. I have been catching up on Bloglines (There were just under 30,000 new posts since I stopped reading regularly. Yes that was typed correctly, THIRTY THOUSAND. I know I was away for a bit but I think that large number has more to do with the number of blogs I subscribe to then the length of time. I'm now editing them down to a more manageable amount.) and there are many new beautiful projects out there to be inspired by and to attempt. So here it goes...I'm jumping back in...

First, a bit of an update: After a not-so-easy pregnancy, I had a baby boy on January 20, 2009. He was born 17 minutes before noon which means he's a Bush administration baby. I do not want to introduce politics to this blog but I will admit that I did ask the doctor if they could wait just a bit before the (unscheduled) c-section. I think they thought I was kidding. Then again, he can now say he was alive for the inauguration of our first Black president. That is pretty cool.

I returned to work after three wonderful months with my baby boy and was soon laid off...just about 4 hours after I showed up. (Just so you know, I was among a large-ish group laid off that day and I hold no ill will toward my formal employer. It's just the economy, such as it is at the moment.) So I love having more time to spend with the little boy but a bit freaked out since I really need a job to support my family. Anyone out there looking for a web designer?

I am also now contemplating how much to share about the new person in my life. Do I share his name? How about a picture or two? A story about his goofy antics (he's only 4 months so there haven't been much of those yet)? I'm just not sure. Honestly, I'm not clear on what the ramifications of sharing him with the world might be. So for now he will remain anonymous. (His grandma just sighed with great relief.) Does anyone have any advice for me? Have you shared information about your children on your blog? Has anything negative—or positive—come from it? I'd love to hear about your experiences.

So stay tuned. I'm back.